Creativity and Doubt and Hope

Creative people are confident in only one thing: their own doubt. I think there’s a huge lack of self-confidence in a creative person because, by nature, the definition of a creative person is someone who is trying to make something new. They know, if they are professional creatives, that the likelihood of doing that—making something new and significant—is hugely unlikely, so they build within that city of doubt. From doubt, they get to iterate and work extremely hard, hoping to find something new; it’s all about hope. I’ve never met anyone who is good at what they do creatively and is super-confident. Maybe they pretend to be confident in front of their agent or the media, but I’ve never been confident in that way.

A conversation with John Maeda.

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  1. I feel a rush of confidence only when I’ve done my absolute best on a piece. If I can look over it and recognize that I’ve done everything I could possibly do, I feel relieved. This doesn’t mean that I’m certain others will appreciate it as I do – I think that I draw my confidence from the process rather than the result.

    • Often I wonder what more can I do that I am missing, where else can I go that I can’t think of. We can only do what we can do, see what we see. I wish I could push more, but I can only push as much as I can push. I think that’s part of my process, though: more, more, more.

      • Do you have a guiding idea or goals for a piece before you start writing, or does the purpose develop as you write?

      • Usually I have a few phrases that have been buzzing around, an image or two that I hold onto until stuff starts happening on the page. But I mostly worry about the language level: what images am I missing? What metaphors am I not thinking of? How can I say this that is more striking, more surprising, more imaginative? I think of it as “how is my imagination failing me?” =)

        Actually, that should be “how am I failing my imagination?” =p

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